Maker: Charles Shaw Winery, Napa County, California
Packaging: 750 ml bottle, natural cork
Our Rating: 8 out of 10
Trader Joe’s Charles Shaw Blend Chardonnay (aka Two Buck Chuck) has a nice pear aroma, and flavor notes of pear and oak. It was medium bodied, and had good clarity. We’re not regular Chardonnay tasters, but this one was better than its $3 price tag would suggest.
Based on this wine, along with today’s tasting of the low-priced Golden Gate Pinot Grigio, it seems that it’s easier to turn out a decent cheap white than a good but really cheap red. We haven’t had much luck with low-priced reds from Charles Shaw, Crane Lake, and similar brands. The Charles Shaw Chardonnay, though, could be passed off as a wine that might sell for $5, if not $10. Opinions on this wine vary, but trend to the positive. The Sydey Morning Herald commented, “The cheapie chardonnay (christened early in the tasting as “Two-Buck Chuck”) wasn’t awful. While it didn’t really taste like a chardonnay, it certainly didn’t taste like rocket fuel. ” And Wine Sediments lists some kudos for the Charles Shaw Chardonnay, noting that it outscored far more costly wines in various competitions. Unspun thinks it’s “decent”, noting, “If you’re stuck drinking cheap wines, the nice thing is that it goes down fairly smooth — definitely smoother than a Vendage! — and doesn’t have an aftertaste that lingers beyond what you’d want.”